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New leisure provider for County Council announced

Northumberland County Council’s leisure services are to be managed by Places for People Leisure Management Limited from April next year.  

It follows a major leisure review in Northumberland that seeks to improve the health and wellbeing of residents in the county.  

The review was carried out by the County Council to develop a county wide strategy to tackle inequalities, increase physical activity, improve access and encourage greater participation in physical activity, working with a range of partners.  

Under procurement law the authority has to conduct a procurement process to ensure the authority is receiving good value for money and the best services possible.  Northumberland County Council has used this opportunity to transform the current provision to a Community Leisure and Wellbeing Service.  

Places for People Leisure Limited (PfPLM), is one of the UK's leading social enterprises and leading leisure management contractors, currently employing over 6,000 staff and operating over 100 sites on behalf of 33 local authorities.   

They are a highly trusted operator with an exemplary reputation and have pledged to increase physical activity in Northumberland, working closely with the Council and stakeholders.  

Northumberland County Councillor Jeff Watson, cabinet member with responsibility for Healthy Lives said: “We’re pleased to announce Places for People Leisure Limited as the winner in a strong field. 

“For the last nine years Active Northumberland have operated as the leisure provider and we thank them for their very good service to date.   

“Staff who work across our leisure centres already do a fabulous job in supporting customers and will continue to do so as we make this transition. 

“All permanent staff will be transferred over to the new operator on the same terms and conditions - as required by employment law. All transferring staff will retain their current terms and conditions.  

“Health inequalities exist within Northumberland, so we took this opportunity to review and adapt our leisure services offer to incorporate a greater focus on the health and wellbeing of the wider community. 

“The robust procurement process evaluated bids and secured the winner who are most likely to achieve this ambition with us as a partnership. We believe Places for People Leisure Limited are the best fit for this brief.”  

Over recent years the County Council has undertaken a countywide £105 million investment programme to upgrade and transform sport and leisure facilities across Northumberland. This has included major investment to refurbish and revitalise sports centres in Hexham, Newbiggin and Blyth and build new leisure centres for Ponteland, Berwick and Morpeth.  

Cllr Watson added: “We’ve made a huge investment into the leisure facilities in this county and this contract reflects our ambitions to maximise that investment and to provide a high quality, value for money leisure and wellbeing service that meets the needs of residents and close the inequalities gaps that prevent some population groups from taking part in physical activity.” 

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